Perhaps one of the most challenging career paths an individual can take is that of the safety professional. Yes, it may be true that there are professions that are more dangerous such as police officer, fire fighter, utility worker, etc. but it is the safety professional with his knowledge, experience and skills that will bring these individuals home safely every day.
Workers in just about every field of endeavor face on-the-job hazard on a daily basis. Committed safety managers try to ensure safety by applying OSHA regulations to minimize workplace hazards and exposures. In many cases it seems like these efforts are challenged by production managers whose priorities are to get "product" out the door under stringent time constraints and to hold the company's bottom line. Legitimate reasons -but at what cost?
Fatalities and serious injuries are still occurring in the workplace even with everyone's best efforts to decrease these numbers or even bring them to a screeching halt. What is the answer? Is it that companies don't care or want to spend the money for safe equipment, processes and procedures? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. We can read any safety publication and see the huge fines given to companies for non-compliance of OSHA regulations which lead to the serious injury of their employees. But fortunately, these companies are few and don't represent the vast majority of companies with visionary leaders who are at the forefront in promoting safety for their employees.
In a recent article of Safety & Health magazine (February 2005) major CEO's of companies were interviewed about their commitment to safety. The article entitled CEO'S Who 'Get It" showed overwhelmingly that their driving force was because it was the right thing to do. Safety does pay.
Somewhere along the way, these executives were sold on safety. Whether they practiced safety principles on their way up the executive ladder or they were sold on safety by motivated safety professionals, they believe that safety is a core value in their company.
What about your company? Is upper management committed to safety or are you having a difficult task as safety manager in selling your programs? Selling is a learned skill and sometimes success comes after many failures. Book stores are filled with sales books and the techniques used to be successful in this endeavor. Perhaps these are the techniques safety professionals must utilize if not master to sell safety.